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When the United States Postal Service (USPS) announced the closure of its North Austin Station in 2021, it prompted a public elegy. “I was immediately horrified,” longtime resident Deaton Bednar told Austin Monitor. “It’s a real community, and a big part of that is the post office,” said Bednar, with other community members — from seniors to small business owners — sharing laments ranging from practical daily routines to social ties. Fortunately, the handsome 1967 building didn’t stay empty long.

While the USPS’s decision to not renew the lease on the property — situated in central Austin’s Hyde Park neighbourhood — came as a blow, the site’s sensitive, mixed-use redevelopment is imbued with a sociable spirit. Led by local designers Side Angle Side, approximately 325 square metres of the postal complex has been transformed into a grocery store and cafe, as well as an adjoining full-service restaurant that nods to the building’s history. (As part of a separate project, a bookstore and a small office now occupy the north end of the same structure).

PHOTO: Likeness Studio

Framing the building, an elegant new veranda fronts a restored brick façade, which had been heavily altered over the decades. A wood soffit introduces a warm and welcoming tone to the exterior, setting the tone for the comfortable, unfussy yet elegant spaces within. Inside, the shop and café is the second outpost for the popular local business Tiny Grocer, which combines a selection of locally produced gourmet foods with a small coffee shop.

PHOTO: Likeness Studio

The sun-filled interior is distinguished by its extensive custom millwork. Natural wood tones are paired with a vivid green hue, making for an assertive yet understated space, anchored by a polished concrete floor that holds traces of the building’s long history. A central bar with café seating is accented by bold terra cotta tile and quartz countertop, creating a welcoming focal point that invites visitors to sit down with a sandwich or coffee.

PHOTO: Likeness Studio

For a more formal meal, the adjacent Bureau de Poste French bistro — operated by the Tiny Grocer team — playfully honours the building’s history. Here, a custom brown leather banquette helps create a leisurely ambiance, paired by expansive factory windows, clean white walls and polished concrete floors. The exterior is every bit as appealing.

PHOTO: Mackenzie Smith Kelly

Outside, a former black tar parking lot has been re-imagined as a 140 square-metre terrace. Paved with salvaged red brick, the dining space features a cast-in-place concrete banquette, and is shaded by oak trees and a steel trellis. The terrace is also bookended by a long steel planter that insulates the al fresco dining room from the adjacent parking lot. For added outdoor comfort, Side Angle Side also introduced a stucco restroom building.  

PHOTO: Mackenzie Smith Kelly

According to Side Angle Side founding partner Arthur Furman, the project combines respectful adaptive reuse of modernist design with a distinctly sociable flair. “The Hyde Park U.S. Post Office was an important neighbourhood hub since the 1960s,” says Furman, “so we were especially careful to keep the integrity and spirit of the mid-century-utilitarian design. As the anchor tenant in the space, Tiny Grocer continues to be the centre of the community, a place to gather, shop, eat and drink.”

PHOTO: Likeness Studio
PHOTO: Likeness Studio
In Texas, a Former Post Office Takes a French Turn

Designers Side Angle Side transform a shuttered Austin postal facility into a grocer, cafe, and the Bureau de Poste bistro.

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